It Isn’t Just for Babies Anymore
By: Amber Kinser
This post is for mothers of non-babies. This post is for moms of non-toddlers, non little-leaguers, maybe even non-science fair contenders. It’s for the mother who has younger people in her house who get their own lunches, who do not need supervision while swimming, who (she chooses to believe) typically remember to brush their own teeth (and reveal when they forget by asking for gum on the way to school). This is for moms of younger people who don’t care much for one-on-one time with her these days, for moms who don’t read books on mothering that much anymore because they have too dang many things crowding their seemingly shrinking plates (which does nothing to explain why most everything else seems to be expanding, like overnight for god’s sake) and because they just want to have a little me time that isn’t mommy-and-me time and that isn’t focused on guess what—mommying. So if she has a chance to read a book, it sure is about something else. Like sex maybe or love or revenge or maybe some older, wise women who are solving mysteries or something. She might read about meditation, or ‘letting go’ or alternative…things…of various sorts. Now she probably has a few things to say about mommying to others but you know what, she’s tired. And sort of over it. The talking about motherhood that is. Now she might check out a riveting blog now and again and so thank goodness for this one, am I right? But that’s about it.
Besides, her contributions to the conversations about motherhood make her feel like such a loner anyway, old even. Like the moms who really count, the moms that people talk the most about no matter where they are on the political spectrum and no matter whether they’re deifying or demonizing them—and they do love to do both, usually in the same paragraph—are moms of babies. Or at least of little people. And she’s not much of either these days. She mothers bigger younger people now. And she might even, as the mom of more than one, actually have a baby too, but she doesn’t quite fit into the teensy weensy pronatalist space reserved for mothers anymore. It’s not that she has anything against babies, per se anyway. Why, some of her best children were babies once. But they’re not now and she’s somewhere else these days.
This is for the moms who find themselves, when they think about motherhood, not so much planning as taking stock. Considering their investments. And where the returns are on those investments (and for some of them, I mean like where the heck are they). Trying to adjust, always adjust expectations—for herself, for her children, for her partner maybe, for her work, for her body—so that they match the real world she lives in and not that silly ‘ideal’ one she made up in her head. This is for the mothers who are doing this adjusting, this considering, this stock-taking not while at the pediatricians office or in the car line after school lets out (cause who has the focus then to think about that stuff anyway, much less the retrospective view) but rather at the courthouse for some youth offense or in the waiting room at the hospital for her grandchild’s birth or her own child’s treatments, or in the audience at high school graduation, or at the funeral of another mother who had to leave her children too early. Trying to forgive her imperfect moments and to relive her brilliant ones of which, in fact, there were many. This post celebrates you and where you are in your mother journey and all that you have given to the bigger younger people you have mothered, including all the stuff they don’t know about, or resent you for, or remember differently than you do. This post applauds you and recognizes that your motherwork continues. I am happy to be in this mothering space with you.